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Architectural relief: middle school.

The Art Problem

I created a PowerPoint presentation for my students called "Buildings Around the World" to help them learn about architecture and architectural detail. Students were asked to create a 3-D relief building in clay that incorporated at least three architectural details and a variety of textures.


clay (white or red earthenware), clay tools, mats, rolling pins, scrap wallpaper to lay slab on, plastic bags for storage, texture templates, acrylic paints, brushes

Guided Practice

1. Prior to sketching out their idea for the project, students research architectural landmarks around the world.

2. Students sketch their design to size on graph paper. The design is cut out carefully.

3. Students roll slab of clay to half-inch thickness. The building design is placed on slab and carefully traced around and cut out with a fettling knife or needle tool. Gently rub on top of the graph paper. The moisture of the clay absorbs the color of blue grid lines which allows students to line up their clay details which better accuracy!

4. Architectural details are formed and scored and slipped onto the surface of slab. Three layers of relief are required somewhere in the piece. Buildings can be made to stand up by adding a small slab as a base perpendicular to the main structure.

5. Texture is added with hand tools or texture templates.

6. After the piece is fired, students paint their buildings with acrylic paints.

Assessing Learning

A rubric assessed creative planning, detail and complexity of design, proper clay technique, use of texture, overall artistry, and effort.

Mary Coy, an art teacher at Spry Middle School in Webster, New York.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:ClipCard[R]
Author:Coy, Mary
Publication:School Arts
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2006
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